Well, let's be honest with ourselves, 2020 has been a cursed year. Due to COVID-19, all our shows were cancelled and the Brick to the Past team have been stuck in their various corners of the country unable to see each other. For the first time since our formation we have been unable to make a really big model, with our plan to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower lost at sea. That said, we have been keeping ourselves busy and have turned out an unprecedented volume of new content, albeit at a much smaller scale. In this blog we will take a recap on what's been most popular while also looking at some of the team's 2020 highlights.
First of all, let's hit our top 5 blogs according to the number of visits to our website. Before we begin we do need to point out a slight flaw in this methodology in that the longer a blog has been up the more likely it is to have more hits... but we'll go with it anyway! The other thing we noticed is that most of the blogs are about Welsh history reflecting a strong showing from our friends across various Welsh Facebook pages - diolch yn fawr cyfeillion! So starting the countdown, with number 5...
5. Merched Becca: Protest & Riots in Rural Wales
The Rebecca Riots are perhaps one of the more unusual British protest movements of the 19th century. Taking place in west and mid Wales between 1839 and 1843 they were undertaken by local farmers and agricultural workers in response to deteriorating economic conditions in the countryside. Nothing unusual there, however what marks these riots out is that they were usually undertaken by men dressed as women.
4. The Merthyr Rising
In May and June 1831 the workers of Merthyr Tydfyl, Wales, rose up against the British Government in what would become known as the Merthyr Rising. Trouble blew up after William Crawshay of Cyfarthfa Ironworks reduced the wages of his iron workers, however the causes were more deep-rooted with frustration around the truck system, the management of dept and the desire for Parliamentary Reform. It is believed that the red flag of revolution was flown as a symbol of workers' revolt for the first time during this event.
No. 3 Battle of Bryn Glas
On June 22nd 1402 a Welsh army under Owain Glyndŵr won a significant victory over a larger English force at the Battle of Bryn Glas, near the towns of Knighton and Presteigne in Powys. The English were there to crush the war of independence that was being waged by Glyndŵr and his supporters. However, instead of bringing the rising to an end it renewed Welsh enthusiasm in the cause while also inflicting a destabilising blow upon English politics, from which it would take years to recover.
No. 2 Battle of Brunanburh
The Battle of Brunanburh was fought in 937 between Æthelstan, King of England, and an alliance of Olaf Guthfrithson, King of Dublin; Constantine II, King of Scotland, and Owain, King of Strathclyde. The battle is often cited as the point of origin for English nationalism: historians such as Michael Livingston argue that "the men who fought and died on that field forged a political map of the future that remains [in modernity], arguably making the Battle of Brunanburh one of the most significant battles in the long history not just of England, but of the whole of the British Isles."
No. 1 Must Farm - Britain's Answer to Pompeii?
Located in The Fens of Cambridgshire are the remains of a Bronze Age settlement known as Must Farm, named after the quarry in which they were found. Discovered in 1999 when a local archaeologist noticed a series of wooden posts sticking out of the quarry’s edge, the site has since been subject to a programme of excavations, which have revealed many incredibly well preserved artefacts that give us a real glimpse into life during the Bronze Age.
So there you have it, our top five blogs of 2020! honourable mentions should also go to the next five, which are The Battle of Lugdunum, Horatius at the Bridge, The Black Death, The Last Invasion of Mainland Britain and The Miracle of the Rain. Do check them out!
Next up we have the highlights from some of our team, beginning with James Pegrum. James has been responsible for a most of our new material this year and boy has he put a shift a in! When asked what he was most pleased with this year, he said it was his model of Scrooby Manor, which was made as part of a series on the history of the Mayflower. James said it was because he "enjoyed working in dark red colour and playing around with the arch details". The work on the arch has been developed further in later builds - so there's more to look forward to!
Next up we have Dan Harris, who was told he couldn't pick one of his Welsh blogs, because most of them are already featured here. According to him, his favourite bit of creativity of 2020 was his model on the Miracle of the Rain, because it gave him a chance to play with his Roman soldiers again; the big man child he is.
Finally, according to Colin Parry, his favourite build of 2020 was his model on astronomer Sir William Herchel who discovered Uranus in 1781. This was an easy choice for Colin, because it's the only thing he's built all year, because, and I quote "I'm up to my neck in kids and never managed to build anything else". Fair play to him.
Another highlight for all of us in 2020 has been the sheer number of new followers we've gained on our social media platforms. We're really grateful for everyone who supports us in this way, because without you we're just shouting into the ether. Anyway, we look forward to bringing you lots of new stuff in 2021 and with any luck, get to see you and say hello at some LEGO shows! If you haven't already, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Happy new year friends!
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On LEGO, History and other things by Brick to the Past